Relationships after traumatic brain injury. What is the social impact of a concussion? My experience
Updated: Nov 20
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At first, I didn’t even think about the question “What is the social impact of a concussion? or thoughts about any changes in relationships after traumatic brain injury. The only thing I was thinking of was getting back to my normal life as soon as possible. I didn’t realize that in the beginning, recovery could take this long. I think it’s better I didn’t know, otherwise it would have driven me crazy.
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Table of contents
What is the social impact of a concussion in the beginning?
In my first few months, it didn’t affect me socially. Of course, I couldn’t continue my social life like I used to, but it all felt so temporary. Like when you have the flu, you are just resting, then a few weeks later, you’re getting back to work, back to seeing friends, and everything else.
That’s how I felt. I didn’t even think of the option that everything would change 180 degrees. For the first few months, I just lived in my recovery bubble. Friends did visit me, I did get some cards from people who told me to get better soon, my boss told me to stay at home and rest, my doctor was hopeful, and it all felt temporary.
So, the social impact wasn’t that hard in the beginning. It wasn’t easy, but I didn’t worry about it because I presumed that I’d be better within a few weeks/months.
relationships after traumatic brain injury after a long time
As I just mentioned, during the first few months, I didn’t even think that my social life would change forever. But after being at home for months and not feeling the smallest improvements, I started to realize this was not true.
I started to notice that friends were just continuing life, and I wasn’t part of it anymore. They didn’t visit me as often as in the first few months, and it almost felt like they had forgotten about me.
I had a lot of friends at my workplace, but I wasn’t there anymore, so I didn’t see them anymore. They stopped texting me after a while, I didn’t get any more cards, and it was like I was all by myself, struggling with how to move forward.
Read my other blog: "When I don’t talk about my concussion recovery, it feels like people forget about it."
What is the social impact of a concussion after years?
My first year was mentally the hardest. It was the year I started to realize things would change forever. I would not be the same person I’d always been. I think my friends realized that as well.
I also had to quit my job, where I had so many social contacts and almost didn’t see them anymore after 6 months. After 1-2 years, I didn’t see anyone anymore. It was like my life was on pause, and their life was just continuing, but without me in it.
It made me sad, realizing I couldn’t keep up with my social life like I used to. I was always a very social person. I loved to go out for a drink, have dinners, lunches, coffee catchups, go to festivals, or just a walk and chat.
My social life was almost everything I had…
My whole life was all about my social activities. My weekends were filled with seeing friends, having fun, and just living my life without any concerns. I always looked forward to Mondays, too, because I loved all my colleagues (who were my friends too) and loved my job.
So, my life changed drastically after having to filter out all these activities. All relationships after the traumatic brain injury changed.
I didn’t fit in the perfect picture of “everything is great and fun” anymore.
What was left? Only me, being home alone with my thoughts and worries about how to get better. No doctor could help me, and almost no friends because I didn’t fit the perfect picture of “everything is great and fun.”
This made me so sad, and I didn’t see any positive effects of my concussion. I hated it and fought against it. Guess what happened? This made everything worse.
My “old” social life was erased - build up a new one that fits the new you.
Slowly, I started to see positive changes and answer the question: What is the social impact of a concussion? I can say it significantly impacts your whole social life, and you have to build up a new one–one that fits the new you.
But at the beginning (my first few years), I didn’t even know who this “new me” was. I was barely able to leave the house. So how the hell could I build a new social life?
I’d rather be alone than surrounded by people who do not really care
It took a very long time. At first, I started to focus completely on me/my health. I tried to keep touch with my old friends, but this took a lot of energy, and I felt like I needed to let go of certain people. So, I did. I’d rather be alone than surrounded by people who do not really care and only cost me energy.
So that’s how I continued my journey, mostly alone, focusing on things that did serve me. I still had a few people who I did see now and then but filtered out most of my “friends.” It was a relief; I didn’t have to keep up with something I didn’t even enjoy anymore.
New people and a bigger connection
Slowly, over time, new people did cross my path. People who actually cared! People who went through some of the same things as well. It felt like I had such a bigger connection with people who also dived more into spirituality and personal development or experienced some struggles in life.
How does a concussion affect you socially in the end?
It did cause some time, struggles, effort, and tears. But in the end, my social life changed for the best. I know I can rely on the people I am surrounded with right now. When something like this happens in your life, you will get to know your real friends. Well, I did.
For everyone right in the middle of this process, trust the process. Listen to your intuition. Which people give you energy? Are they still serving you? Or are you more alone than surrounded by them? Keep in mind that after closing a door, a new one will always open. Maybe not right away but trust me, it will.
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